The Seattle Thunderbirds fell 6-2 to the Kelowna Rockets in the first game of the best-of-seven series.
Scott Eansor scored two goals, including the equalizer which eventually carried Seattle into overtime, Tuesday night. Branden Troock also scored and center Russell Maxwell continued his playoff point streak with an assist. It was the first overtime playoff game for Seattle since it dropped Game 7 to Kelowna last season.
With Sunday’s 3-1 win, the Thunderbirds hold a 2-0 edge in their opening round series against Everett. A start that has to please everyone, including general manager Russ Farwell and head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
Two late third period goals allowed Spokane to inch closer to Seattle with a 6-4 win, Tuesday night. Spokane now sits fifth, just two points behind the Thunderbirds in fourth place and three in front of Everett in sixth.
It’s the second consecutive loss for the Thunderbirds against Everett in a little over a week, with Seattle (39-20-2-4) managing just two goals against the stingy Everett defense.
In the end, Alexander Delnov scored the game-winner in overtime to lift Seattle past Prince Albert 4-3. Mathew Barzal scored two goals, Roberts Lipsbergs added his first goal in nine games, and Shea Theodore contributed two assists to lead the T-Birds.
Shea Theodore had three assists and Mathew Barzal provided two to lead the Thunderbirds’ scorers on a night the team won their eighth consecutive home game and earned their first season series win over Tri-City since the 2004-05 campaign.
Since January 25th when Seattle upended Everett 4-3, each player has produced four goals and five assists. Their great play has also been a boon for their linemate, forward Justin Hickman, who scored five goals in a two game stretch prior to Friday.
Ryan Gropp scored two goals, Mathew Barzal remained hot with a goal and two assists and Branden Troock scored his first goal since returning to the T-Birds’ lineup.
Barzal and Gropp, each playing in the midst of their rookie campaigns for Seattle, are clearly two of the brightest young players Seattle has, and both are playing at a high level currently for head coach Steve Konowalchuk.